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Workers’ Compensation and Telecommuting

by  on  News & Resources

Today’s super-connected, Internet-based society makes it easy for many people to work from home or telecommute using videoconferencing and email to get their jobs done. While working from home may seem like the perfect setup since there’s no commute, no dress code, and many people have the ability to take care of other personal tasks while they’re on the clock, it makes for complicated legal requirements if you suffer an injury while you are on the job.

The state of Colorado has some of the highest numbers of telecommuting employees, according to reports from the U.S. Census Bureau. Almost 7 percent of employees in the state currently have work-from-home arrangements set up with their employers, either on a permanent or rotating basis.

What if You Get Hurt?

In the average office, an employee who suffers an injury at work may be entitled to receive compensation that typically covers their medical expenses along with any earning potential that has been sacrificed during the employee’s recovery process. An employer assumes responsibility for any dangerous business practices or building features that could cause an injury to an employee.

When you work from home, things are not quite as cut and dry. An employer’s responsibility to provide a safe working environment for employees is obvious and can be tracked and held to standards in an office; but when the employee works from his or her home, a company or boss cannot actually ensure that the “office” is held to the same safety standards.

In determining whether an injury can be considered covered within the realm of workers’ compensation, employees and their bosses need to determine whether the injury arose from or was sustained in the course of doing the injured person’s job. Even if the physical location where the employee was injured is his or her home, if performing duties required for the job at hand caused an injury, it may be considered in a workers’ compensation claim if the employer has authorized the job to be done from home or via telecommuting.

Colorado’s Laws for Telecommuters

According to state statutes, the majority of a telecommuting employee’s work “must be performed in Colorado, combined with either an injury in Colorado or an employment contract entered into in Colorado.” This means that in some cases, employers who are not based in Colorado may be liable for their telecommuting employees’ injuries if the employees live in Colorado and work from home.

Determining whether your injury falls under the protection of a workers’ compensation claim can be critical to helping you receive the time and financial support you need to make a full recovery. If you have been injured on the job or while working from home, and you believe your employer should be helping you financially, contact the Levine Law Firm today. Our Denver workers’ compensation attorneys represent anyone who has suffered an injury while doing his or her job.